Electrification Between Bristol and Cardiff Complete

Network Rail contracted Balfour Beatty to perform the electrification of 77km of track between Bristol and Cardiff. These works are now complete.

The electrification of the Great Western Railway (GWR) between the two cities is part of Network Rail’s Greater West Electrification Programme – the electrification of the 275km of track between Cardiff and London.

First electrified train between Cardiff and London
First electrified train between Cardiff and London on 6 January.

Balfour Beatty deployed more than 750 people over the Christmas period to perform the works. The final installation of overhead lines took place at Cardiff Central Station. In total, Balfour Beatty installed more than 4,200 masts and booms, which support 643km of electric cabling associated with the 77km section of track.

To mark the electrification milestone, the first electrified train departed from Cardiff Central to London on 6 January.

Mick Rayner, Managing Director, Balfour Beatty Rail, said:

“We are proud to have successfully delivered part of the largest modernisation project on the Great Western Railway which we {have} been working on for the past three years. Delivering this important upgrade to the Welsh rail network will provide a more sustainable way of travelling for tens of thousands of commuters.”

The electrification works are part of Network Rail’s London upgrade plan, which it estimates should increase capacity by 30 percent during peak times.

Mark Langman, Managing Director for Wales and Western, Network Rail, said:

“I am delighted that services can now run on electricity between Bristol and Cardiff, linking the two capital cities for the very first time via an electric railway. This is the culmination of the largest modernisation project on the Great Western railway since it was built in Victorian times, which we have been working on over the last 10 years.”

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